FanFic - Max/Liz
"Acting Alien"
Part 11
by Carol
Disclaimer: No one in the WORLD would take ownership of this one but me! The characters aren't mine, though. Life's a bitch.
Summary: A teen sci-fi show's director is unhappy with the chemistry (or lack thereof) and believability of his characters. He gets permission to take them to Roswell for a bit of atmosphere and a reality check. (You may notice some similarities between these characters' names and those of our beloved cast and creative team.)
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Acknowledgment: The premise for this story is really based on a fic idea from Jane of my Roswellnet list. She has not only allowed me to use the idea, but to warp it just a bit for our purposes. Thanks, Jane! Caution: Most of you who read my fics are used to some serious plot, character development, etc. Quit looking. This is a fluff piece I wrote over the holidays. The readers at Jenn's board VOTED on what would happen at the end of each installment from 3 choices I gave them. They dictated the direction and emphasis. (I've kept the choices they had to choose from in here, so you could see what they DIDN'T choose!) So don't think too hard! Just sit back and enjoy! Here's what I told them to begin: Setting: We want everyone getting along in this one, so let's say it's just after "Sexual Healing"
Mason was alarmed at the stricken look on Cheryl's face. "Cheryl, what's wrong? You look scared to death!"

"Mason, I've been reading Liz's journal. I know! I shouldn't have, but after seeing Liz glowing under Max's touch again last night, my curiosity got the better of me. Mason, you won't believe what's in here!"

"Cheryl, no. Don't tell me. It's not my business."

Cheryl stopped mid-rant. A statement like that from Mason Blair was completely uncharacteristic. "Mason? Since when are you concerned about the privacy of others?"

"Let's just say, I've learned a few things since we've come to Roswell, and respecting others will be a little higher on my list from now on."

"Well, I think that's great, Mason, but in this case, the news is too big to ignore. Mason, he's an alien."

Mason stared at Cheryl, trying to detect whether she was making a joke. Surely, she was. It wasn't like anyone would say that seriously. Her eyes were anything but amused, however. All he saw was fear and confusion.

"Cheryl, what have you been smoking? He's an alien? That's a little lame, isn't it? I mean, considering the show we do, that would be irony for you!" He chuckled, choosing to believe she was joking.

"I don't blame you for thinking that, Mason, but here. Read this." She thrust the book into his hands and opened to the passage she wanted him to read.

. . . Isn't it ironic that when something like this finally happened to me, it was with an alien? I should probably be terrified, but I'm not. I would trust him with my life. Actually, I guess that's what I did, without realizing it. And now I wonder why I never noticed him before. When he let me see into his soul, I saw only goodness, loneliness, and his affection for me all these years. I just hope I can be worthy of him. . . .

Mason frowned. "Maybe she is writing this for an English assignment."

"There's more." Cheryl turned to another page toward the end of the journal.

. . . Well, as if things weren't strange enough around here, today we were approached by a Hollywood producer who is bringing his cast to town for a few days. He wants them to stay with local teens and he's asked US! We're all a little wary about it. We are knee-deep in secrets and having strangers so close all the time is risky. But Maria is thrilled, and besides, no average teen would turn down an opportunity like this. Max, Isabel, and Michael have spent their lives trying to appear normal at all costs, so we agreed. If we're careful, it could be fun. . . .

"That's no English assignment," Cheryl stated nervously.

Mason was lost in thought. Finally Cheryl shook his shoulder. "Mason?"

"I'm not saying I believe this, Cheryl, but it would explain a lot. First, think about how fast Max got drunk on about two swallows of a mixed drink. That's not normal. Then the glowing thing--you've seen that twice and we can't explain it. And on the set today, I started to ask Liz about anything unusual happening when they kiss . . . ."

"You did what?" gasped Cheryl.

"Well, I was pretty subtle. But not subtle enough, because as soon as I brought it up, Liz's face looked closed and fearful. And then . . . ." Mason started to laugh at the memory of the afternoon's events in light of this possibility. "Today, every time I got close to Liz in those scenes we were reading, weird stuff happened--exploding lights, fire sprinklers suddenly turning on. You should've seen Jamison. His nerves were completely frazzled! But when Liz and I ran off the set, we ran right into Max, who looked extremely apologetic for no reason. And I remember his saying 'I'm sorry' to Liz." He started laughing again, but he sobered quickly.

"Cheryl, we have to be careful about this. If it's not true, we could upset a lot of people for no reason, or we could look like total idiots ourselves. If it is true, what purpose does it serve to tell anyone?" Mason could see Cheryl's eyes grow wide as she opened her mouth to speak.

"Wait, Cheryl. Hear me out. Go back and read the first passage you showed me. See where Liz writes, 'When he let me see into his soul, I saw only goodness, loneliness, and his affection for me all these years. I just hope I can be worthy of him.' That's dated way last fall. In all that time, they've only grown closer. There's been nothing to fear from him. And look at the others she mentions, Isabel and Michael. They both have close loyal friends. I just don't believe they're dangerous.

"Besides, they've had quite an impact on me."

Cheryl noticed the suddenly shy expression on Mason's face, and was again confused by this uncharacteristic behavior. "What do you mean?"

Mason took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. Just jump in, Mason, he told himself. "I've gotten some really good advice from both Isabel and Liz. At least I hope it's good advice." He came to sit on the bed beside Cheryl and, much to her surprise, took her hand in his.

"Cheryl, I've been a self-centered bastard since we started filming this show. Since before that, actually, because I always thought it was every man for himself, ya know? I didn't trust anyone and didn't want anyone leaning on me, so I kept everyone at a distance. Including you. Like I told you the other day, until we came here, and I saw people who cared about each other, respected each other, and . . . well . . . just treated everyone nicely, I never believed people could be like that. Then I started watching Max and Liz and wished I had someone like that in my life. After talking to Isabel and Liz, I realize I do have someone like that." He hesitated, and then looked Cheryl in the eye. "You."

Cheryl was stunned. The change in Mason over the last few days was enough to strip your gears, and she wasn't entirely sure he was serious.

"Mason? Are you telling me you think you can trust me?"

"I already do trust you, Cheryl. I've been afraid to let you close because I was afraid of feeling . . . vulnerable. I was afraid to let anyone have that power over me. But I realize now that I can't have a close relationship with anyone until I risk trusting. Cheryl . . . ." Mason lifted her chin with his hand and looked deeply into her eyes. "I'd like to try to build something real with you, if you're willing. I know you probably don't think much of me right now. I haven't been a great guy to have around. But I have a new perspective on things and . . . ."

Cheryl silenced him with a slowly growing smile and eyes filled with promise. "I'm willing to take a chance, if you are," she whispered, and brought her lips to his in a tentative kiss. Mason was elated, hardly able to believe her willingness to take a chance on him. As his hand stroked her arm, it brushed against the journal in her hands, reminding him of their original conversation.

"Cheryl, let's not tell anyone about this. These are good people, or whatever they are, and all they've done is be friends to us. Let's repay them by being friends, too. Let them know they can trust us. Okay?"

Cheryl was still shaken by what she was convinced was earth-shattering news, but Mason's take on things had calmed her, and she had to admit that she couldn't see any purpose to bringing this out into the open. In fact, to be honest, it could ruin her career. And if they had anything to do with this change in Mason, well, they were all right with her. She nodded her assent.

"Cheryl! Are you up to eating with us tonight?" Nancy Parker poked her head in the door as Cheryl quickly slid the journal under the bed. Nancy smiled at Cheryl, not entirely surprised to see Mason visiting with her. "Oh! And Mason, please join us. There's plenty."

"Yes, Mrs. Parker. I'm feeling so much better." She beamed at Mason, who returned her broad smile.

"Thanks, Mrs. Parker. I'd love to join you."

Nancy retreated into the hall. "Fifteen minutes, then," she called.

"You go on," urged Cheryl. "Let me freshen up and change into some real clothes."

Mason leaned in and kissed her lightly on the cheek. This time he left through the bedroom door.


Michael and Maria had fallen asleep on Michael's couch when there was a rapping at the door. Stronger the second time, Michael growled and pushed himself up to answer it. His mood didn't improve any when he saw Brent standing in the doorway with Marla and Rick right behind him. Michael scowled.

"What's this? Strength in numbers?"

Brent smiled uncomfortably. "No, Michael. I just wanted to pick up the few things I had here and Marla and Rick gave me a ride over in their rental car."

Marla threw Rick a sidelong glance and smiled shyly. "We'd just been out seeing Roswell's sights."

Michael frowned. "We have sights?"

Brent looked over Michael's shoulder and saw Maria sit up on the couch. He looked back at Michael. "Seems you two have patched things up. That's good."

"They were never UNpatched, Fairchild."

Brent's eyebrow arched. "Really. That's not what it looked like from here," he challenged.

"Stop it, you two," Maria interrupted. "Brent, thank you for all your encouragement. I've really enjoyed you all being here in Roswell, but for right now, maybe you better get your things."

Michael stepped back to let Brent in as he slipped his arm around Maria's shoulder. His pursed lips and squinted eyes were clear indications that Brent was not welcome, and Brent hurried in to gather his few belongings.

Marla approached Maria. "You kicked butt last night, girl. Good luck with your singing career."

"Yeah," Rick added. "I'm bettin' we hear you on the radio in the not-too-distant future."

Maria beamed. "I hope you're right," she grinned excitedly.

"My offer stands," Brent said, returning to the room. "I'll leave my contact info on your machine, and I've got your number. As soon as I get my backing set up, I want to see you in LA."

Michael's grip on Maria tightened and he opened his mouth to speak, but Maria cut him off. "Say the word, Brent, and we are there. Somebody told me recently, I should always make music."

"Good advice," Brent nodded, smiling.

Maria felt Michael's eyes on her and his grip turned into a light stroking of her upper arm. He'd gotten the message. She wanted to be with him, but it wasn't all she wanted. He would have to accept that.

Brent smiled at her. "We have one more day of shooting and then we're headed back to LA. If I don't see you guys again, thanks for the hospitality." He raised an eyebrow at Michael and offered his hand. Michael hesitated, glanced at Maria, and accepted the handshake. What the hell.

After their guests had left, Maria turned to him. "Thank you, Michael."

"For what?"

"For not holding on too tight." She reached her arms around his neck and pulled him into a gentle kiss.


Max and Liz finally found their way back to the Crashdown only to discover they had missed dinner with Liz's parents and Mason and Cheryl.

"Liz! There you are!" her mother scolded. "Where were you? We waited, but dinner was getting cold and we were hungry."

Liz responded with an embarrassed smile and looked up at Max. "Never mind," her mother sighed and continued clearing the dishes.

"I need to see the outside world," begged Cheryl. She was tugging at Mason, as if eager to leave. "Mason, will you take a walk with me?"

"Sure," said Mason. He was looking at Max, a strangely fascinated look on his face. Max squirmed under the scrutiny.

"Something wrong, Mason?"

Mason shook himself. "No, nothing. We'll be back soon."

Max and Liz exchanged a confused glance and then Liz tugged Max toward the hall. "I want you to hear my new CD," Liz urged, pulling Max toward her room. When they pushed through the door, Liz turned toward Max and grinned impishly. Max looked into her bright, warm eyes and felt himself falling into them. Their time together late this afternoon had given them a chance to talk about where they wanted to go from here, and Max was thrilled to realize that Liz's feelings for him were almost as strong as his for her. He pulled her into his arms and nestled his fingers in her hair, brushing his lips over her cheek, her lips.

"Liz?" her mother called. "Don't you want to nibble, at least?"

Liz giggled. "Sounds good to me," she whispered against Max's mouth.

"Not right now, mom!" she yelled over her shoulder. "I'll get something later!" Her voice dropped to a whisper again. "I think I'd like to start with dessert." She raised her lips to Max's and he took them eagerly, letting his love flow through this kiss more deeply than he had ever dared before. He felt Liz sigh into his mouth and his own reaction startled him. His whole body seemed to react to her touch, her smell, her luscious lips against his, and once again he felt himself falling. He didn't want to move too fast and scare her. He forced himself to pull away and a tiny whimper escaped her.

"Liz, we'd better cool down." He sighed deeply, struggling to regain his composure. "Where's that CD you wanted me to hear?"

Liz pouted, but her rational self knew he was right. She echoed his sigh. "Okay, Max."

She knelt to pull open the door on her nightstand, flipping through stacks of CDs. "Where did it go?" she muttered to herself. Then she lifted her bedspread and felt under the bed. Max watched as she froze, her eyes snapping up to the loose brick in her wall.

"Liz, what's wrong?"

Liz slowly pulled something out from under the bed. It was her journal. "Max," she breathed. "I never keep my journal under the bed. Never!"

Their eyes locked as they realized who must have put it there.

Part 10 | Index | Part 12
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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